Working in a team

Hi friends,

I have a question about working in the office with many people and many laptops.

Since I never tried the server edition, I am not sure if I understood the model correctly.

We have 5 more people in the office working with Macs.

Now they liked Devonthink so much since they have seen my workflow.

All of them want to have it now.

But the idea is to share a database for the office.

What edition should they buy?

Is the DTPro Licence able to share a database with other DTPro licences or is the server edition needed?

Or can the people only work in collaboration via the web interface?

Thank you for your advise.

All editions are able to synchronize databases (e.g. via Dropbox, iCloud, WebDAV or Bonjour) but additional seats would be required to use the app on 5 Macs as the license includes only 2 seats.

The web interface of the server edition supports access to shared database(s) via any browser and platform, therefore it’s especially great in mixed environments or if you want to restrict the permissions for some users.

I am still confused. (so sorry)

Should the office buy one license and add up seats


can they buy 5 licenses?

in order to be able to share the DB.

See page 279 of the current version (3.8.1) of the “DEVONthink Handbook” where they publish the license. You’ll find the license elsewhere. It says:

This License allows you to non-simultaneously use the Software on multiple computers by the same person.

I interpret that to mean that if you have “5 more people” that you would per the license, need to buy 5 more licenses.

As an alternative, you could look into using DEVONthink Technologies’ server version of the product.

In the end it depends on the office and its needs. E.g. does everybody want to use the native app on a Mac or the limited & slower web interface on other platforms too? The main advantages of the server edition are compatibility to most platforms/browsers and permissions.

So far my impression is that buying additional seats (not licenses) would be sufficient as everybody seems to be interested in the native app.

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There are two methods of sharing the database…


This is where a database on one Mac will by synced to a commonly accessible location, for example an in-house WebDAV server. Other Macs running DEVONthink would then import the database locally so each machine has its own copy of the database. Changes made on any of them will propagate to the others via our sync engine and the sync location.

This requires adding seats to your purchase, so additional capital outlay is required. However, 5 people would only require adding three more seats as you get two with the purchase.

The caveat is this: you must administer the database(s) and give firm instruction as to who can do what with the databases. As I mentioned, if a person makes a change to the database, say they decide to create a group and move files per their way of working, this would affect everyone syncing that database. Not knowing your working environment, it’s hard to say with authority but It’s potentially a fairly simple matter to resolve if you instruct them to each create their own working database where they can organize and curate things they’re working on but not add those things to the shared syncing database unless instructed too.

Web Sharing

This is where a database is open in a copy of the Server edition of DEVONthink on one machine but is broadcasting the database on a network. People needing access can be given a username and password, as well as per-database permissions for each broadcasted database. These things are set in DEVONhink’s Preferences > Server > Users. They would then go into their web browser - on Mac or PC - and access the database by logging into the URL you provide, shown in the bottom of the preferences after you’ve started the server.

This requires no more initial captial investment than purchasing the Server edition. But, as hinted at by @cgrunenberg, this is a lighter interface used for search and browsing the database, lacking higher functions like automation, etc. However, it is still a capable interface and used in offices, etc.

I hope that makes things a bit more clear.